Yeah, that's it
Shawn Baldwin for The New York Times
Members of an elite police unit under the Interior
Ministry’s jurisdiction directed vehicles at a checkpoint
on the outskirts of Baghdad Saturday.
Iraq Stumbling in Bid to Purge Its Rogue Police
By EDWARD WONG and PAUL von ZIELBAUER
Published: September 17, 2006
BAGHDAD, Sept. 16 — Shiite militiamen and criminals entrenched throughout Iraq’s police and internal security forces are blocking recent efforts by some Iraqi leaders and the American military to root them out, a step critical to winning the trust of skeptical Sunni Arabs and quelling the sectarian conflict, Iraqi and Western officials say.
The new interior minister, Jawad al-Bolani, who oversees the police, lacks the political support to purge many of the worst offenders, including senior managers who tolerated or encouraged the infiltration of Shiite militias into the police under the previous government, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials who work with the ministry and the police.
No one expected a housecleaning to be easy, and some headway has been made in firing people. But despite that progress, recent difficulties reveal the magnitude of the task facing Mr. Bolani and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. When he took office in late May, Mr. Maliki said one of his top goals was to reform the Shiite-led Interior Ministry, which had, to the minority Sunni Arabs, become synonymous with government complicity in abduction, torture and killing.
The ministry recently discovered that more than 1,200 policemen and other employees had been convicted years ago of murder, rape and other violent crimes, said a Western diplomat who has close contact with the ministry. Some were even on death row. Few have been fired.
Despite the importance American commanders place on hiring more Sunni Arabs for the overwhelmingly Shiite police force, the ministry still has no way to screen recruits by sect or for militia allegiance. Such loyalties are the root cause of the ministry’s problems.
A senior American commander said that of the 27 paramilitary police battalions, “we think 5 or 6 battalions probably have leaders that have led that part of the organization in a way that is either criminal or sectarian or both.”
Five or Six
He said five or six? Really?
Try nearly all of them.
posted by Steve @ 1:35:00 AM